Saturday August 9 2014

Who are the next Kaginas?

Allen Kagina, the outgoing Commissioner General of

Allen Kagina, the outgoing Commissioner General of Uganda Revenue Authority is one of this generation’s most inspiring women. With most women in positions of authority being from her generation, there is a concern of who the next breed of women leaders will be. Photo by Faiswal Kasirye 

By Rebecca Rwakabukoza

It should not be disastrous that Allen Kagina is retiring after serving as Commissioner General for 10 years.

Kagina has worked at Uganda Revenue Authority since 1992, and while her tenure has seen greater revenue and improved management, URA can get a new person. It should.

But they might not get another woman. That should be okay. Any qualified citizen-regardless of sex- can serve in the position. Just like Arthur Isiko must be doing a great job as acting Managing Director of Bank of Africa, after Edigold Monday resigned from the position last April.

It is not about the gender of the person in a company, unless there are very few women in executive positions in the country.

As is the case in Uganda. It is therefore understandable that when I read about Allen Kagina retiring from URA, I was very worried. She doesn’t need to be a woman to serve in the position, but it helps young girls aspire to be when they grow up with women like her. The environment is very important in raising a child.

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a nurse. (My mother is one.) A couple of months back, I asked my niece what she wanted to be and she said “Museveni’s secretary.” She cannot imagine being president, but the next most powerful position she imagines available to her as a female citizen is that of President Museveni’s secretary.

I am sure there is a reader now who is thinking about Wandira Kazibwe serving as a Vice President and is about to respond to this with the tired argument about the current government being “good to women.” I will grant you your argument.

This government has seen more positions taken by women and yes, Kazibwe is still one of very few women to serve as Vice President in this entire continent.

But there is need for effectiveness and for continuity. As Kagina was wrapping up her time at URA, this newspaper reported her saying, “In the last 10 years, the revenue collections have grown from Shs1.9trillion to Shs8trillion while tax collections which used to support 58.7 per cent of the national Budget is now supporting 71.5 per cent of the national Budget.”

I have tried to Google the easy names that come to mind when you think of women in positions that are not gender-specific and it appears to be the same generation. According to the Internet, Kazibwe was born in 1955 and Kagina in 1961.

Jennifer Musisi was born in the 1960s. These women all seem to be from the same generation, with more executive women like NTV Uganda’s Managing Director, Agnes Asiimwe Konde, probably a generation younger.

It is said to be a country of young people, with as many women as men. What happens when the people who have led us retire? Who do they pass the mantle to? Even more crucially, who are the younger women who will walk in the shoes of the women before us?